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Hitachi Funds Mountain View

Hitachi Ltd.'s (NYSE: HIT; Paris: PHA) investment arm, the Hitachi Corporate Ventures Catalyst Fund, has made a sneaky investment in NAS software startup Mountain View Data Inc. (MVD) to speed up the development of MVD's server clustering and network storage software for Hitachi servers (see Hitachi Funds Mountain View Data).

The financial details of the investment were not disclosed, but sources close to Hitachi say MVD's latest round of funding was between $5 million and $10 million. It was led by Nippon Venture Capital Co. Ltd. (NVCC), and was joined by ADTX, a storage hardware vendor; Nissei Capital; Daiwa Bank; and Kokusai Capital, which manages the Hitachi-Kokusai Capital Number One Investment Enterprise Partnership fund. MVD says a follow-on round, expected to close in early May, will bring in another large Japanese corporate investor. MVD closed $3 million in its first round of funding in December 2001.

MVD was founded in October 2000, with offices in San Francisco, Tokyo, and Beijing. The company has a headcount of about 40 people and is headed by president and CEO Cliff Miller -- who got up at 4:30 a.m. Japanese time to talk with us about how MVD fits into the storage market.

"It's all about cost savings right now, not expensive, flashy hardware anymore," he says. MVD makes two products: PowerCockpit [ed. note: sounds pretty big and flashy to us!], which manages clusters of Intel-based servers; and MVD Powered NAS, a software kit for OEMs that converts PC servers into network attached storage (NAS) appliances. IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) has validated the software for its xSeries servers. MVD says it has "dozens" of OEMs and systems integrators in the U.S., although it's not allowed to name them (see MVD Buys TurboLinux Unit).

MVD's NAS software includes a journaling file system, a Web-based management console, online file system resizing, support for NFS, CIFS, and AppleTalk file sharing, MVD Snap for up to 225 snapshots, and NDMP backup support and synchronization for continuous replication over LAN, MAN, and WAN environments. The company is also integrating network-acceleration cards from Alacritech Inc. into its offering (see Alacritech Turns to Linux).

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